The Aftermath of World War II

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How did World War II change opportunities for African Americans?  

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World War II had profound short- and long-term impacts upon the opportunities available to African Americans both during and after the war due to conditions at home and in the military. So many men enlisting and being drafted into the military created job openings for African Americans on the home front. However, it was in the military that the greatest changes occurred, setting the stage for subsequent civil rights movements.

In 1941, there were less than 4,000 African Americans, including only a dozen officers, in the U.S. military. By 1945, the military in Europe, the Pacific, and at home included over 1.2 million African Americans in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. At first, most African Americans served behind the lines in service positions, but later on, as the need for combat personnel increased, they became more active on the front lines. African Americans stormed the beaches at Normandy on D-Day, served in a tank battalion with General Patton as he moved through...

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